Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson dropped a bombshell after Monday’s trade deadline passed when he revealed to the media that superstar winger Rick Nash requested to be dealt back in January.
“He obviously wants a change,” Howson said.
Howson tried to accommodate Nash’s request, but found that no team was willing to meet his steep demands for the prolific goal scorer. The Rangers wanted to add Nash to their lineup, but not at the expense of several young stars, prospects and a No. 1 draft choice.
The Rangers may elect to pursue Nash in the offseason. He’s signed through the 2017-18 season and carries a $7.8 million annual cap charge.
Nash addressed the media in Columbus on Tuesday morning, and told reporters that he didn’t want to be part of the Jackets’ rebuilding effort.
“I was informed by management that there was a rebuild, a reshape, of the team, and I personally felt I could be a huge part of that, toward bringing assets in,” Nash said. “I think that was in my view that was the best thing for the team, the organization, and personally for my career.”
And the whole awkwardness about having to finish up the rest of the season in a city you wanted out of?
“Right now it’s over and done with and I’m going to worry about the next 20 games, and worry about playing those, and giving everything I can to the city, to the fans, No. 1. They’ve stood behind me my whole career and hopefully I’ve offered them a bunch of things to talk about. I think the biggest thing is I’m a Blue Jacket, I’m a captain, and I’m going to be giving 100 percent to this whole city and this organization,” Nash said.
Nash has a no-trade clause, but did give the Jackets a list of teams he’d accept a trade to. He wouldn’t disclose the number or what teams were on the list, though.
Is he upset he’s still in Columbus?
“I understand that Scott has got to make a fair deal, and I want what is best for the team, the organization,” Nash said. “I think these fans have been patient. They deserve the best. I think I understand that.”